By Staff Writer Mozza
The good ship Lady Brisbane visited our island for a day trip recently delivering a boatload of tourists to Bongaree to sight see and shop and lunch at the local businesses.
These full day cruises from Brisbane happen three times a year and retrace the iconic SS Koopa Trail to Bribie Island departing from Bretts Wharf Plaza, Hamilton at 9am returning around 4.45pm.
The Koopa was an Australian steamboat built in Scotland by Ramage & Ferguson Ltd of Leith, Scotland, in 1911 and based in Brisbane from December 1911. It was passenger ferry in Moreton Bay. It was requisitioned for World War II service as HMAS Koopa (pennant KP) from September 1942 to January 1947, and used as a depot ship at Toorbul, Queensland and as a mother ship with Fairmile motor launches in the Milne Bay area of New Guinea. She returned to the Bribie Island service in February 1947. The Koopa was later taken off the Brisbane - Redcliffe - Bribie run and retired in 1960.
The Lady Brisbane is a ship operated by Brisbane Cruises, which has been operating since 1987. It was originally built to operate out to the Great Barrier Reef, the Lady Brisbane was built in 1972 by Milkraft in Brisbane, and has been renovated.
On Saturday 26 November 2011, the Lady Brisbane accidentally grounded on the beach just north of the Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island. No injuries were sustained, and her passengers were returned to Brisbane by another vessel. She remained stranded until the following day when another Spring Tide enabled her release.
With all the current talk of the possibility of a Brisbane Stradbroke Island ferry service taking just 40 minutes it’s a shame Bribie Island is not in the current plans for a regular service for Brisbane ferry passengers.
The benefits to the island would be huge and support the Moreton Bay Regional Tourism Plan as well as ease congestion on the highway to Brisbane from daily commuters from the island to the Brisbane CBD.
Moreton Bay Regional Council set aside $250,000 in June 2020 to determine how much tourism potential the region has to offer.
Council will use the money to engage an external consultant to explore how Moreton Bay can become the most accessible tourism destination in southeast Queensland and what major projects are needed to support the tourism industry.
The external consultant will work with relevant stakeholders including Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism to create the framework over the next 12 months. Projects will then be rolled out next financial year and will focus on the hinterland initially followed by other areas.
Mayor Peter Flannery said in June that the aim was to give people a reason to come to the region, post coronavirus, to help stimulate the economy and tourism industry.
A Brisbane Bribie ferry service would have some logistical issues that would need the state government and Brisbane City Council to step up and partner with our council to make possible as they are responsible for public transport in the region. A decent vessel such as those travelling from Townsville to Magnetic Island would be needed as the weather in the bay can be challenging.
Additionally the service could only run once or twice in the morning and afternoon unless multiple boats were used and this would mean the service would be expensive or lose money until passenger numbers were high.
One could argue that if we build it they will come. Rather than the state government spending millions on tourism television advertising that is gone like a puff of smoke they would be better off putting the money towards underwriting this type of service for a few years until it’s sustainable.
We as a community need to decide what it is we want to serve the future of the island, perhaps this could be the topic of discussions of the Bribie Island Business Groups and Council going forward.